STARWALKS: SPICA and ARCTURUS
By Thea Marshall
‘From here to there to Washington Square…’
Spica and Arcturus are two stars that are linked together as they rise on the eastern horizon.
Last seen to rise after sunset March 22, Arcturus, chief star in the constellation Boőtes, The Bear Warden, the bright red northern star of the pair rises roughly a half hour earlier than the brilliant white star Spica, alpha star in the zodiacal constellation of the Virgin last seen to rise on March 30. Arcturus is one of the circumpolar stars whereas Spica sits on the path of the ecliptic and is capable of being occulted or hidden by the Moon, the last event which was visible in Pie Town at 10:39 PM February 28. However, the two are linked together by the same zodiacal longitude and thus Spica can be found by drawing a straight line southward from Arcturus which is more directly overhead to the north.
Arcturus is easily located by following the simple rule ‘Arc to Arcturus’ by which you find the handle of the Big Dipper and draw an arcing line with your eye to the prominent red star. As in Dan Brown’s popular novel, The Lost Symbol, the architecture of Washington DC has been laid beneath a grid of stars. Regulus, Spica, Arcturus, and the Ecliptic Plane are in the same relationship to one another as the Capitol building, the Mall, the Washington Monument and the White House.
A current resident in Pie Town, Thea Marshall has lived in NM for 34 years, enjoys writing and stars.